Is this really anti-Semitic? I think not, for the following reasons:JULY 11--A newly discovered diary of Harry S. Truman indicates that the former president t may have had a strongly negative opinion of Jews. In the diary, which includes 42 entries written in 1947, Truman recounts a conversation he had with Henry Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury, who had phoned to discuss the fate of Jewish refugees. In criticizing the approach of Morgenthau, who was Jewish, Truman wrote in a July 21 passage, "The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog." The diary, found earlier this year by a researcher at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, was released yesterday by the National Archives. Although Truman supported recognition of Israel in 1948, he was known to use anti-Semitic language. In a letter written years before he entered the White House, Truman referred to New York City as "Kiketown."
1] Though he identifies a tendency among Jews, he neither says that ALL Jews show this tendency, nor does he condemn Jews for this. It is, instead, a conclusion drawn from experience and subject to revision by further experience, and this is a normal process.
2] This statement actually has predictive value. The passage "…when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog…" while rather extreme, does foreshadow the treatment of the Palistinians.
3] Truman referred to New York City as "Kiketown." Oh, so what? NYC probably was the most Jewish town in the USA at that time and he was probably speaking among friends who knew it wasn't meant derisively. I myself have heard many elderly Jewish women speak of Chicago's Southside as "Schwartzburg" ("Black town") and that never struck me as anything but colloquial hyperbole.
But, for the record, I am not Jewish and I may just be insensitive. Any thoughts on this?